These are only some of the accolades that Bhopal has won in recent times. Known for its abundant greenery, lakes and historical monuments, today the Madhya Pradesh state capital is well on its way to becoming a future-ready city with its Smart City initiatives as well as a world-class ecosystem that fosters and nurtures startups.
Once tagged as a BIMARU state, in the present day, Madhya Pradesh is on an exciting journey to economic and social development. And one of the key milestones of this journey is Bhopal’s inclusion in the Union Government’s Smart City Mission. Bhopal is also listed as one of the 20 lighthouse cities which can serve as a role model for other aspiring cities with its work in the area of sustainable and inclusive development.
The four pillars on which the Bhopal Smart City mission is being built are as follows:
In fact, as part of the Smart Cities Award 2018 by the Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Ministry, Bhopal was selected in the ‘Innovative Idea’ category for a “transformative approach towards sustainable integrated development”. The Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation bagged the 2018 Urban Mobility Award for its Security Integration & Intelligent Traffic Management System. With this system, it becomes easy for authorities to proactively manage traffic, enhance traffic discipline and increase road safety by preventing accidents.
Bhopal also bagged an award under the urban environment category for its public bike sharing project, as well under the Culture and Economy category.
The city’s Public Bicycle Sharing system offers citizens a low-cost, environmentally friendly mobility option to commute. Going forward, there are plans to integrate this system with the BRT system, to improve the connectivity and bring down the dependency on automobiles, in turn reducing traffic congestion, vehicle emissions, and demand for parking.
Another infrastructure-related project underway is the reconstruction of Bhopal’s Habibganj railway station on the lines of Germany’s Heidelberg railway station by the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation, a special purpose vehicle of the railway ministry, in association with a private firm.
This project aims to streamline the movement of people inside the station premises by segregating entry and exit routes and constructing departure and arrival lounges. Also on the cards are the construction of two subways and a new station building.
As part of the Bhopal Smart City Mission, the B-Nest Foundation was set up in May 2018 with an intent to provide a thriving startup ecosystem in the central part of India.
Focusing on six key sectors--Agri-Tech, Waste Management, App-Development, Citizen Surveillance, Healthcare and IOT-based solutions, the not-for-profit organization provides state-of-the-art facilities for startups. These include 24x7 working space, mentorship assistance, funding assistance, and advice on legal, financial and marketing aspects of the business, access to cloud platforms and connectivity, idea validation and business modelling guidance, maker’s space and IOT lab, industrial connects and networking opportunities.
At present, over 30 startups from sectors like Waste management, Home Automation, Agri-Tech, IOT, Autonomous vehicles, Heath Care, Digital Marketing, Drone Surveillance and Fin-tech are operating out of the B-Nest facility in Bhopal.
Through events like conclaves, hackathon, boot camp, investor meets, maker’s workshops, and legal and tax advisory sessions, the B-Nest Foundation is helping startups through various stages of their journey. In fact, B-Nest has recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with venture capital firm Beehive Capital for providing funding assistance to promising startups.
Already, B-Nest has received appreciation and recognition for the work it is doing. It was awarded with The Best Startup Policy award at Business World’s 4th Digital India Summit and Awards. The B-Nest incubation centre in Bhopal also won an award as part of the Smart City Awards instituted by the Union Ministry of Urban Administration and Housing Development under the Culture and Economy’ category.
Continuing on its journey to make MP a thriving startup destination, B-Nest has partnered with renowned technology companies like 3M, HPE, Deloitte, Cisco, Paytm, AWS, Ericsson and ESRI for industry mentorship, technical assistance and knowledge sharing. B-Nest has also partnered with premier educational institutes like MANIT, RGPV, JLU and SIRT for promoting entrepreneurial culture and spirit amongst the youth. In addition, it is also working with ecosystem players like HackerEarth and Headstart to achieve this.